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avg reading: 5 minutes

Introduction

Designed by the co-author of MQTT, Arlen Nipper, Sparkplug is designed to fit on top of MQTT. In 1999, when MQTT was invented, it was originally ment for SCADA systems and left out all specifications on how topics and payload should be structured and how devices should behave. This allowed MQTT to be used in different industries like connected car, logistics but also smart manufacturing. Sparkplug fills this gap and provides a vendor-neutral specification for the data formats, topic structures, state management, and how topologies should be structured in IIoT scenarios. This way Sparkplug extends regular MQTT with several very smart features. A flexible architecture which allows you to auto-discover edge nodes, devices and their metrics (data & metadata) as devices and applications can be added and removed anytime without affecting the system as a whole. Report by Exception (RBE) saves bandwidth, memory and computational power on the producer and the consumers of data. Last but not least, your data can be delivered securely via the latest industry strength security specifications and with rich meta-data for added context.

Imagine Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) without the burden of re-inventing the wheel each time you change your installation. This is what co⚡e: Sparkplug™ MQTT edge and host offers you. It offers a flexible, modern, free and open way for any of your devices to exchange data using MQTT. You only need a proper MQTT broker and this library, just instantiate, configure and connect, done!

Sparkplug™ Benefits at a glance

Sparkplug™ adds many powerful benefits on top of standard MQTT and is here to change the IIoT landscape.

Benefit Standard MQTT Sparkplug™ MQTT
Simple
Open
Pub / Sub
Last Will and Testament
Bandwidth efficient
Continuous Session Awareness
Persistent Connections
Decouples devices from applications
Latest in TCP/IP security
Setup with minimal coding
Standardized payload definition
Standardized Topic Namespace
Auto discovery
Meta-data for metrics, nodes and devices
Death and Birth Certificates
Report by Exception
Instantaneous Bi-directional data transfer between Nodes and Host
File Transfer *
Historical Store and Forward *
High Availability *
  • Advanced features are subjected to the roadmap

Goal

Providing the CODESYS ecosystem a full specification compliant implementation of Sparkplug edge and host nodes, which run on any sufficiently capable CODESYS based controller. Since the code is written in compliant IEC languages, the library is fully portable over various brands and types of industrial controllers. Stability is aimed to be by design naturally. This is why the code is continuously and rigorously tested.
In short, this solution aims to "marry" CODESYS with the Sparkplug IIoT MQTT protocol and open up the vendor-independent CODESYS ecosystem with the IIoT market using all advantages that the Sparkplug MQTT protocol offers.

Last but not least

Our library has been built in open source, which should allow experienced programmers to add/remove or alter parts of the code. It allows a for peer to peer code review and to build/expand on the existing code base. The Sparkplug specification has been released with open-source in mind, and we are delighted to share our library also! Of course the CODESYS runtime and MQTT library we utilise are not open-source.

Components

An overview of the components in this CODESYS library mixed with third party capable SparkplugB MQTT devices;
SparkplugB CODESYS Architecture
Details on the different components in the infrastructure:

  • [Infrastructure] explains various node functions like Edge, Device, Primary Host, etc etc.
  • [Security] explains the available security levels,
  • [Messages] explains the various defined sparkplug messages and their payloads.

Development

Some tools we use for development are

  • Ignition SCADA (Maker Edition) with MQTT Engine Module as Primary Host Node
    We test our code against Ignition as Primary Host node and against the Sparkplug TCK when it is available.
    However, we are also in full preparation of developing a CODESYS variant of a Primary Host.
    To experience the full capabilities of Sparkplug in action, you can create your own free test system using this setup guide: Setup a test system. When our Primary Host node has finished, there will be no explicit need for Ignition anymore.

  • TCK Toolkit
    We will test and verify our library against the TCK toolkit once it comes publicly available.

  • co♻e: A unittest framework for CODESYS based systems
    We aim to cover the entire solution with pragmatic unit, integration and pov tests.

    For more information see #co♻e

  • MQTT Explorer
    MQTT.fx supports limited SparkplugB payload protobuffer decoding so it is a very good & flexible test client.

    http://www.jensd.de/apps/mqttfx for more information
    MQTT.fx is published under Apache License, Version 2.0.

  • MQTT Client Library Usage
    Under the MIT license you are free to use the co⚡e: Sparkplug™ MQTT edge and host library. You are free to implement and use another MQTT client implementation. If you do, we urge you to implement a stable & 100% MQTT v3.1.1 capable library. However, in this project we will use the following library;

    https://store.codesys.com/iiot-libraries-sl.html
    Without a valid license, the software runs for 30 minutes in demo mode.

Progress

Timeframe

Milestones are set and progress is being made. You can read our progress blog here

Roadmap

This roadmap is subjected to change without prior notice. No liabilities shall be taken! Completed milestones are clearly marked.

v1.0.0.0

  • Basic MQTT Publisher/Subscriber implementation (FB_MQTT_PubSub),
  • Basic Google Protobuf payload encoder / decoder (FB_Payload_Simple),
  • Basic Metric Support for Bool, Real, DWord, Int, Byte etc, etc (FB_SparkplugBSimple, etc, etc.),
  • Basic SparkplugB implementation, responsible Topics & sending messages (No support for receiving commands apart from Rebirth),
  • Basic EoN Node, responsible for publishing Node/Device metrics (FB_Edge_Of_Network_Node),
  • Basic EoN Node TLS Connection Support,
  • Basic EoN Node Server Command support: Rebirth,
  • Debugging / Optimization/ Refactoring of Minimal Viable Product.
  • Release ofPackage v1.0.0.0

v2.0.0.0

  • Basic datatypes metrics support,
  • Device support, acts as a digital representation of a physical device sending metrics,
  • Receiving Server commands, setpoints etc,
  • Bind multiple Devices to an Edge (on the fly capable),
  • Machine to Machine communication,
  • Primary Host node, CODESYS based Primary Host Node Implementation,
  • Support for Templates
  • Support for Aliases,
  • Debugging / Optimization/ Refactoring of Standard package,
  • Release of Package v2.0.0.0

v3.0.0.0

  • File transfer,
  • Historical data support,
  • Payload compression,
  • IoDriver,
  • Debugging / Optimization/ Refactoring of Advanced package.
  • Release of Package v3.0.0.0

Download

By downloading and using our software you abide by theMIT License
The co⚡e: Sparkplug™ MQTT edge and host library is MIT licensed and open sourced, but to run it for more than 30 minutes you will need to purchase an IIoT Libraries Bundle SL from the CODESYS Store, as we make use of the MQTT Client contained in it.

Sparkplug Preview Library v1.4.2.19

29 august 2021: fixed [#139]

Preview of a CODESYS based SparkplugB PrimaryHost Node


Download SparkplugB v1.4.2.19 library


Download SparkplugB v1.4.2.19 example

  • For a list of full capabilities see Roadmap
  • See Requirements for requirements
  • Numerous bugfixes and improvements
  • Implemented Bidirectional communication between CODESYS based Primary Host Node, Edge of Network (EoN) or attached Devices.
  • Implemented handling of multiple Devices connected to an Edge,
  • Updated TLS Security handling,
  • Updated MQTT Client version,

Enjoy!

A small guide on how to run the example can be found here
Preview how-to

SparkplugB v1.0.0.0 Basic Package

1/1
IEC SparkplugB v1.0.0.0 Installation
  • Turns your CODESYS controller into a SparkplugB Edge of Network Node (EoN).
  • This package contains all components in a convenient single installer.
  • See Roadmap for a list of basic capabilities.
  • See Requirements for information on system requirements and restrictions.

Download v1.0.0.0 Package

Requirements

System requirements and restrictions Info
Programming System CODESYS Development System Version 3.5.16.0 or higher
Runtime System CODESYS Control Version 3.5.14.0 or higher
Licensing A separate CODESYS IIoT libraries SL per PLC or Machine
Required Accessories Any 100% fully compliant MQTT v3.1.1 broker or cloud service. Sparkplug requires the following: QoS 0 and 1, Retained Messages, Last Will and Testament, A flexible security system.
Restrictions Brokers or cloud services like AWS IoT Core, Azure IoT Hub or Google Cloud Iot Core are not supported. They do not not implement MQTT v3.1.1 in full. Ask Google, Amazon or Microsoft for a fully compliant MQTT v3.1.1 implementation.

NOTES

If you have no CODESYS licenses available, you can still enjoy Sparkplug with the following limitations in mind:

  • Any unlicensed CODESYS runtime runs in a DEMO trial period for 2 hours, after that period you must restart the runtime,
  • Any unlicensed IIoT SL library runs in a DEMO trial period for 30 minutes, after that period you must re-download the runtime.
  • On pricing read this FAQ [questions:#9]
  • Because this library is MIT licensed you can exchange the licensed MQTT Client SL for any other flavour MQTT client as you see fit, but you must do so yourself. Ofcourse we are happy to provide you with our advice and / or some assistance.
  • Ignition's SCADA as host is not necessarily needed since we implement a 'lightweight' primary host node, but if you wish you can always choose it;
  • Ignition Enterprise SCADA runs in a DEMO trial period for 2 hours or choose to opt in for a FREE maker Edition.

Acknowledgements

We are passionate software developers who maintain co⚡e in spare time.
CODESYS fully supports us in our efforts by providing a free and open source platform for everybody to use.
Read more on #co5e


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Copyright © 10/11/19 Eclipse Foundation, Inc. https://www.eclipse.org/legal/efsl.php